When Isabella Binkley was just 3 years old, she started playing soccer. It was love at first save.
The Huron High School senior goalie liked the game so much that the outstanding athlete decided to pass on all other sports and turn all of her attention to the great game of soccer.
“I have always loved the sport,” Binkley said. “I loved soccer better than other sports because it’s a team sport. I have always been a people person and I like working with others.
“When I was 11 I quit all other sports to focus my time and energy on soccer.”
That attention paid off in many different ways. Her dedication to soccer landed her the starting keeper position at Huron High School as a freshman and she was the rock along the backline for all four years with the River Rats.
Huron lost to Pioneer 2-1 in a District opener at Saline last month, ending Binkley’s tenure in the Huron goal but she certainly left behind a lasting legacy and her name in the school record book. With 47 wins in her four years, Binkley became the winningest goalie in school history.
Isabella, the daughter of JV and Wendy Binkley, remembers one of her early games playing in goal for the River Rats.
“When I was a freshman I made over 20 saves in one game,” she said. “It was against Saline and even though we lost I had played the best game of my life at that point.”
It was the first of many highlights during her career.
“Another highlight was winning the shootout in Hanover Horton last year,” she said. “I saved two penalty kicks to win it and that was a great moment in my career. Seeing my team run out to me after we won is my favorite Huron Soccer memory.”
Despite all of her personal accolades, all of her favorite memories revolve around team accomplishments.
“There are many things that my team and I accomplished these past four years that I’m proud of,” she says.
“However, I’m most proud of beating Pioneer twice this season. Huron hasn’t beaten Pioneer twice in one season since 2009. To show you just how long that is I was 10 years old the last time Huron did that.”
As a freshman, Binkley recorded 15 wins, 5 losses and 6 shutouts with a 1.05 goals-against average. She won the first of four SEC Sportsmanship Awards and was an All-District Honorable Mention, Swartz Creek Tournament champion and Scholar Athlete.
She went 10-7-1 with a 1.55 GAA as a sophomore.
As a junior, she went 11-4-2 with nine shutouts.
As a senior captain, she went 11-5-2 with 10 shutouts with a 1.00 GAA.
For her career, Binkley went 47-21-6 with an amazing 28 shutouts and 1.13 GAA.
Binkley also has been playing club soccer since she was 11 years old.
After spending her first three club years with the Michigan Tigers, Binkley switched to the Canton Celtic.
“I’ve made lifelong friends while playing club soccer and it is something that I will miss a lot when I start college in the fall,” she said. “I owe a lot to all of my club coaches especially my goalie coaches who trained me to become the keeper I am today. I grew a lot as a person and player while playing club soccer and I’m thankful for that.”
Binkley, 17, will take her outstanding soccer skills and equally impressive 3.6 grade-point average to Alma College.
“I chose Alma because I felt comfortable and at home there right away,” said Binkley, who will study nursing. “The small school atmosphere is what I wanted and Alma gives that. Not only is the school a great fit, the soccer program is as well. The team and coaches were so welcoming and that made me want to be a part of their big family.”